mkvpropedit -- Modify properties of existing Matroska(tm) files without a complete remux

Table of contents

1. Synopsis

mkvpropedit [options] {source-filename} {actions}

2. Description

This program analyses an existing Matroska(tm) file and modifies some of its properties. Then it writes those modifications to the existing file. Among the properties that can be changed are the segment information elements (e.g. the title) and the track headers (e.g. the language code, 'default track' flag or the name).

Options:

Option Description
-l, --list-property-names

Lists all known and editable property names, their type (string, integer, boolean etc) and a short description. The program exits afterwards. Therefore the source-filename parameter does not have to be supplied.

-p, --parse-mode mode

Sets the parse mode. The parameter 'mode' can either be 'fast' (which is also the default) or 'full'. The 'fast' mode does not parse the whole file but uses the meta seek elements for locating the required elements of a source file. In 99% of all cases this is enough. But for files that do not contain meta seek elements or which are damaged the user might have to set the 'full' parse mode. A full scan of a file can take a couple of minutes while a fast scan only takes seconds.

Actions that deal with track and segment info properties:

Option Description
-e, --edit selector

Sets the Matroska(tm) file section (segment information or a certain track's headers) that all following add, set and delete actions operate on. This option can be used multiple times in order to make modifications to more than one element.

By default mkvpropedit(1) will edit the segment information section.

See the section about edit selectors for a full description of the syntax.

-a, --add name=value

Adds a property name with the value value. The property will be added even if such a property exists already. Note that most properties are unique and cannot occur more than once.

-s, --set name=value

Sets all occurrences of the property name to the value value. If no such property exists then it will be added.

-d, --delete name

Deletes all occurrences of the property name. Note that some properties are required and cannot be deleted.

Actions that deal with tags and chapters:

Option Description
-t, --tags selector:filename

Add or replace tags in the file with the ones from filename or remove them if filename is empty. mkvpropedit(1) reads the same XML tag format that mkvmerge(1) reads as well.

The selector must be one of the words all, global or track. For all mkvpropedit(1) will replace or remove all tags in a file. With global only global tags will be replaced or removed.

With track mkvpropedit(1) will replace tags for a specific track. Additionally the tags read from filename will be assigned to the same track. The track is specified in the same way edit selectors are specified (see below), e.g. --tags track:a1:new-audio-tags.xml.

-c, --chapters filename

Add or replace chapters in the file with the ones from filename or remove them if filename is empty. mkvpropedit(1) reads the same XML and simple chapter formats that mkvmerge(1) reads as well.

Actions for handling attachments:

Option Description
--add-attachment filename

Adds a new attachment from filename.

If the option --attachment-name has been used prior to this option then its value is used as the new attachment's name. Otherwise it is derived from filename.

If the option --attachment-mime-type has been used prior to this option then its value is used as the new attachment's MIME type. Otherwise it is auto-detected from the content of filename.

If the option --attachment-description has been used prior to this option then its value is used as the new attachment's description. Otherwise no description will be set.

--replace-attachment selector:filename

Replaces one or more attachments that match selector with the file filename. If more than one existing attachment matches selector then all of their contents will be replaced by the content of filename.

The selector can have one of four forms. They're exlained below in the section attachment selectors.

If the option --attachment-name has been used prior to this option then its value is used as the replaced attachment's name. Otherwise the name is not changed.

If the option --attachment-mime-type has been used prior to this option then its value is used as the replaced attachment's MIME type. Otherwise the MIME type is not changed.

If the option --attachment-description has been used prior to this option then its value is used as the replaced attachment's description. Otherwise no description is not changed.

--delete-attachment selector

Deletes one or more attachments that match selector.

The selector can have one of four forms. They're exlained below in the section attachment selectors.

Options for attachment actions:

Option Description
--attachment-name name

Sets the name to use for the following --add-attachment or --replace-attachment operation.

--attachment-mime-type mime-type

Sets the MIME type to use for the following --add-attachment or --replace-attachment operation.

--attachment-description description

Sets the description to use for the following --add-attachment or --replace-attachment operation.

Other options:

Option Description
--command-line-charset character-set

Sets the character set to convert strings given on the command line from. It defaults to the character set given by system's current locale.

--output-charset character-set

Sets the character set to which strings are converted that are to be output. It defaults to the character set given by system's current locale.

-r, --redirect-output file-name

Writes all messages to the file file-name instead of to the console. While this can be done easily with output redirection there are cases in which this option is needed: when the terminal reinterprets the output before writing it to a file. The character set set with --output-charset is honored.

--ui-language code

Forces the translations for the language code to be used (e.g. 'de_DE' for the German translations). It is preferable to use the environment variables LANG, LC_MESSAGES and LC_ALL though. Entering 'list' as the code will cause mkvextract(1) to output a list of available translations.

--debug topic

Turn on debugging for a specific feature. This option is only useful for developers.

--engage feature

Turn on experimental features. A list of available features can be requested with mkvpropedit --engage list. These features are not meant to be used in normal situations.

--gui-mode

Turns on GUI mode. In this mode specially-formatted lines may be output that can tell a controlling GUI what's happening. These messages follow the format '#GUI#message'. The message may be followed by key/value pairs as in '#GUI#message#key1=value1#key2=value2…'. Neither the messages nor the keys are ever translated and always output in English.

-v, --verbose

Be verbose and show all the important Matroska(tm) elements as they're read.

-h, --help

Show usage information and exit.

-V, --version

Show version information and exit.

--check-for-updates

Checks online for new releases by downloading the URL http://mkvtoolnix-releases.bunkus.org/latest-release.xml. Four lines will be output in key=value style: the URL from where the information was retrieved (key version_check_url), the currently running version (key running_version), the latest release's version (key available_version) and the download URL (key download_url).

Afterwards the program exists with an exit code of 0 if no newer release is available, with 1 if a newer release is available and with 2 if an error occured (e.g. if the update information could not be retrieved).

This option is only available if the program was built with support for libcurl.

@options-file

Reads additional command line arguments from the file options-file. Lines whose first non-whitespace character is a hash mark ('#') are treated as comments and ignored. White spaces at the start and end of a line will be stripped. Each line must contain exactly one option.

Several chars can be escaped, e.g. if you need to start a non-comment line with '#'. The rules are described in the section about escaping text.

The command line 'mkvpropedit source.mkv --edit track:a2 --set name=Comments' could be converted into the following option file:

# Modify source.mkv
source.mkv
# Edit the second audio track
--edit
track:a2
# and set the title to 'Comments'
--set
name=Comments

3. Edit selectors

The --edit option sets the Matroska(tm) file section (segment information or a certain track's headers) that all following add, set and delete actions operate on. This stays valid until the next --edit option is found. The argument to this option is called the edit selector.

By default mkvpropedit(1) will edit the segment information section.

3.1. Segment information

The segment information can be selected with one of these three words: 'info', 'segment_info' or 'segmentinfo'. It contains properties like the segment title or the segment UID.

3.2. Track headers

Track headers can be selected with a slightly more complex selector. All variations start with 'track:'. The track header properties include elements like the language code, 'default track' flag or the track's name.

Option Description
track:n

If the parameter n is a number then the nth track will be selected. The track order is the same that mkvmerge(1)'s --identify option outputs.

Numbering starts at 1.

track:tn

If the parameter starts with a single character t followed by a n then the nth track of a specific track type will be selected. The track type parameter t must be one of these four characters: 'a' for an audio track, 'b' for a button track, 's' for a subtitle track and 'v' for a video track. The track order is the same that mkvmerge(1)'s --identify option outputs.

Numbering starts at 1.

track:=uid

If the parameter starts with a '=' followed by a number uid then the track whose track UID element equals this uid. Track UIDs can be obtained with mkvinfo(1).

track:@number

If the parameter starts with a '@' followed by a number number then the track whose track number element equals this number. Track number can be obtained with mkvinfo(1).

3.3. Notes

Due to the nature of the track edit selectors it is possible that several selectors actually match the same track headers. In such cases all actions for those edit selectors will be combined and executed in the order in which they're given on the command line.

4. Attachment selectors

An attachment selector is used with the two actions --replace-attachment and --delete-attachment. It can have one of the following four forms:

  1. Selection by attachment ID. In this form the selector is simply a number, the attachment's ID as output by mkvmerge(1)'s identification command.

  2. Selection by attachment UID (unique ID). In this form the selector is the equal sign = followed by a number, the attachment's unique ID as output by mkvmerge(1)'s verbose identification command.

  3. Selection by attachment name. In this form the selector is the literal word name: followed by the existing attachment's name. If this selector is used with --replace-attachment then colons within the name to match must be escaped as \c.

  4. Selection by MIME type. In this form the selector is the literal word mime-type: followed by the existing attachment's MIME type. If this selector is used with --replace-attachment then colons within the MIME type to match must be escaped as \c.

5. Examples

The following example edits a file called 'movie.mkv'. It sets the segment title and modifies the language code of an audio and a subtitle track. Note that this example can be shortened by leaving out the first --edit option because editing the segment information element is the default for all options found before the first --edit option anyway.

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --edit info --set "title=The movie" --edit track:a1 --set language=fre --edit track:a2 --set language=ita

The second example removes the 'default track flag' from the first subtitle track and sets it for the second one. Note that mkvpropedit(1), unlike mkvmerge(1), does not set the 'default track flag' of other tracks to '0' if it is set to '1' for a different track automatically.

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --edit track:s1 --set flag-default=0 --edit track:s2 --set flag-default=1

Replacing the tags for the second subtitle track in a file looks like this:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --tags track:s2:new-subtitle-tags.xml

Removing all tags requires leaving out the file name:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --tags all:

Replacing the chapters in a file looks like this:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --chapters new-chapters.xml

Removing all chapters requires leaving out the file name:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --chapters ''

Adding a font file (Arial.ttf) as an attachment:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --add-attachment Arial.ttf

Adding a font file (89719823.ttf) as an attachment and providing some information as it really is just Arial:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --attachment-name Arial.ttf --attachment-description 'The Arial font as a TrueType font' --attachment-mime-type application/x-truetype-font --add-attachment 89719823.ttf

Replacing one attached font (Comit.ttf) file with another one (Arial.ttf):

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --attachment-name Arial.ttf --attachment-description 'The Arial font as a TrueType font' --replace-attachment name:Comic.ttf:Arial.ttf

Deleting the second attached file, whatever it may be:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --delete-attachment 2

Deleting all attached fonts by MIME type:

$ mkvpropedit movie.mkv --delete-attachment mime-type:application/x-truetype-font

6. Exit codes

mkvpropedit(1) exits with one of three exit codes:

7. Text files and character set conversions

For an in-depth discussion about how all tools in the MKVToolNix suite handle character set conversions, input/output encoding, command line encoding and console encoding please see the identically-named section in the mkvmerge(1) man page.

8. Escaping special chars in text

There are a few places in which special characters in text must or should be escaped. The rules for escaping are simple: each character that needs escaping is replaced with a backslash followed by another character.

The rules are: ' ' (a space) becomes '\s', '"' (double quotes) becomes '\2', ':' becomes '\c', '#' becomes '\h' and '\' (a single backslash) itself becomes '\\'.

9. Environment variables

mkvpropedit(1) uses the default variables that determine the system's locale (e.g. LANG and the LC_* family). Additional variables:

Option Description
MKVTOOLNIX_DEBUG and its short form MTX_DEBUG

The content is treated as if it had been passed via the --debug option.

MKVTOOLNIX_ENGAGE and its short form MTX_ENGAGE

The content is treated as if it had been passed via the --engage option.

MKVTOOLNIX_OPTIONS and its short form MTX_OPTIONS

The content is split on white space. The resulting partial strings are treated as if it had been passed as command line options. If you need to pass special characters (e.g. spaces) then you have to escape them (see the section about escaping special characters in text).

10. See also

mkvmerge(1), mkvinfo(1), mkvextract(1), mmg(1)

11. WWW

The latest version can always be found at the MKVToolNix homepage.